A mother’s frantic overnight search for her teenage daughter ended in tragedy on Tuesday when the child’s body was found in a field in Bisley.
Sibahle Mkhize, 13, a Grade 8 pupil at the Northbury Park school in Pietermaritzburg, was raped, stabbed to death and her body left in a field in the area of Bisley, more than two kilometres from her home.
Her devastated mother, Nonjabulo Mkhize, 33, a laundry supervisor, said she had last seen her daughter on Monday evening at about 18:20, when she had gone to the kitchen to dish out supper.
“A few minutes later, when she did not emerge from the kitchen, I checked on her to find she was not in the kitchen or anywhere in the house. I checked around with the neighbours and no one had seen her as well.
“I thought that maybe she was with some friends and that she would return by 20:00. When she didn’t, I became frantic and searched through Monday night looking for her.
“On Tuesday morning I reported her missing to police. On Tuesday afternoon, I was called to identify a body that matched the description of my child. It was her,” said the emotionally distraught mother.
Describing her child as quiet and shy, Mkhize said while her daughter had friends in the neighbourhood, she had never strayed from home without permission before.
“I just don’t know what happened on Monday. She wasn’t one to visit her friends all the time. Even if they came to visit her, it was always for a short period,” said Mkhize.
She said on Monday night, some teenagers in the neighbourhood mentioned seeing her walk on the road at about 7 pm but they were not sure what direction she had headed in.
“There are lots of children on the road here and nobody seems to know what happened.
“Some children saw her at about 19:00 walking alone on the road. After that nobody knows what happened. There is no way she would have walked that far. It is possible that she was walking on the road and was taken into a car by force and attacked. I just don’t know,” said Mkhize, who has two other children, aged 8 and 1.
She said Sibahle, who had dreams of travelling overseas and working in drama and becoming an actor, had left home wearing beige boots, black pants and a red hoodie jacket. When police informed her a body matching those clothes had been found, her heart sank.
“Seeing my child so brutally stabbed, without her pants on, mutilated in the worst possible way, has broken me.
“I can’t describe how I am feeling. No parent should have to bury their child. I’m angry and I want the murderer brought to book and given the harshest possible sentence,” said Mkhize.
Police sources said they had received a call from a passerby that there was a body lying in the field.
Upon their arrival, there was no one present but they decided to walk through the bushes and found the body.
Ward councillor Nokhutula Msimang said they were saddened by the brutality that a 13-year-old child had to endure. “We urge anyone who has information to come forward and help police with the investigations.
“We condemn any kind of abuse against children and women and extend our deepest condolences to the Mkhize family,” said Msimang.
Residents in the Bisley area where the body was found said they had filed complaints with the municipality for months about the overgrown grass and lack of street lights.
They said there has been a sudden increase in crime, especially house break-ins or attempted break-ins.
“The street lights have not worked in this area for months, if not years.
“The grass has not been cut, children hang around on the streets, smoking dagga and doing drugs. We are just not safe here and we believe the overgrown grass and non-functional street lights has contributed to the crime in the area,” said the resident.
Police spokesperson sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese confirmed the case, saying they were investigating murder and rape. News24